Jadon Sancho showed worrying indications of a poor mentality years before Manchester United splashed £73million for his signature, according to Kieran Dyer. The 23-year-old winger’s lacklustre United career has paused while he spends the second half of the season at Borussia Dortmund.
Sancho has returned to the Westfalenstadion on loan for the remainder of the campaign, having spent the last four months banished from Erik ten Hag’s first-team squad.
He’s never really got going since landing at Old Trafford in 2021 due to different reasons, including physical and mental problems.
Such issues also reportedly disrupted Sancho during his first spell at Dortmund as a teenager, resulting in different instances where he was accused of a lack of professionalism.
His explosive public row with Ten Hag summarised his disappointing return to Manchester, thwarted by problems on and off the pitch.
But Dyer, who watched Sancho in Manchester City’s academy in 2017 while he was coaching, isn’t surprised by the failed transfer.
“He was a wonderkid growing up. He was the talk of everybody in the academies at that time,” Dyer told talkSPORT.
“I was coaching, and when I watched Man City, he was unstoppable. It was a youth team, so the U18s and he was incredible.
“He was probably 17 years old, and everyone wanted him – he could have his pick, he’d just dominate every team.
“They played Chelsea in the FA Youth Cup final and played against Reece James, and Reece James got the better of him, which can happen to anyone, but he quit on his team in the Youth Cup final.
“He just mentally went, and I kind of had a red flag against him then and thought that’s a bit weird. He’s got the world at his feet, and alright, he’s had a bad game, but he’s quit on his teammates.
“You could see the life had gone out of him. He’d stopped tracking back and sort of given up and was basically mentally gone.”
Sancho may hope to resume his United career under a new manager next season if United’s dismal results continue and Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS decide to part ways with Ten Hag.
But loans are for development more than anything, and Sancho seemingly has some growing to do if he’s still going to become a success at Old Trafford.
For United, it’s a win-win scenario if the England international rediscovers his best form at Dortmund, whether they plan to cash in on him this summer or hand him a second chance.